GREENSBORO (May 2, 2018) – North Carolina A&T volleyball wrapped up the spring portion of their offseason hosting a seven-team tournament at Moore Gymnasium. The Aggies had a successful day of competition against Elon, Catawba and Winston-Salem State.
“I thought we had a great day,” said N.C. A&T coach Hal Clifton. “We went 5-1 in set scores and had a couple of players really stepped up. I felt the team had a certain confidence about them, as they played well today. We were steady in all areas. Even when it was tight we never panicked. We were focused and that allowed us to get the wins. I'm really proud of how the team competed. It was a great finish to a grinding spring season. I hope they saw their hard work pay off. From the weight room, the classroom and the practice court, they put in a lot of work this season.
Sophomore Christa Wilson has fully made the change from an outside hitter to libero this spring. In 2017, Wilson ranked fourth on the Aggies in digs averaging 2.04 per set (198 total). She ended the season with five consecutive double-figure dig matches. Freshman Fatima Shabazz was the other Aggie standout on the court during the tournament. Shabazz redshirted the entire 2017 season.
“It’s hard to pinpoint one single person but Fatimah had a very solid spring,” said Clifton. “It was great to see her back at almost 100 percent. She showed a lot of progress on the court with her lateral movement and a lot of power from her arm. She has a good volleyball IQ and she was making good plays. I know she is thrilled to be back. Christa did a nice job settling into the libero position. She grew a lot in understanding what it takes to be a libero. It’s not just wearing a different color jersey.”
The 2017 Aggies volleyball team posted the most regular season wins (14) since the 2006 season. N.C. A&T finished the year ranked seventh in the nation in aces per set (1.74), 25th in opponent hitting percentage and 37th in team service aces (171). In all three categories, they ranked second in the conference.
“The fall is going to be very exciting. We have a great group returning and a great group coming in. There will be a lot of competition for court time so practices should be very competitive," said Clifton. "We have a number of players that will make an impact and can step up at any time. We have increased our ball control which was a huge focus this spring. We always set the bar high.
Last year was only the third time this program has been .500 or better. But last years success was last year. We are focused on winning A&T's first volleyball championship. I'd like to thank my entire staff, which also includes Ms. (Ella) Hairston (academics), coach (John) Dahuya (strength and conditioning) and Wilson Thao (athletics trainer) for their time and work this year. They are a big part of why our program continues to grow.”